Dorms vs. apartments: It’s a personal choice
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 00:11
Iesha Taylor’s evening ritual involves driving back to her apartment, deciding what to cook for dinner and studying in the comfort of her home.
Colleen Gregg grabs a bite to eat at Fresh Food Company. She then either studies in her room, at Cook Library or the Honors House.
Which option is better? It is a personal choice. All students at the University of Southern Mississippi must make the decision about where to live: on-campus in a residence hall or off-campus in an apartment or house. There are varying views on the merit of each choice, and that choice has a big impact on students’ social and academic lives.
Gregg, a senior marine biology and Spanish major, believes on-campus housing had a positive impact on her college career. She has lived on campus since her freshman year except for a semester she spent studying abroad in Spain. She is currently a resident of Mississippi Hall.
“Having a roommate is fun,” Gregg said. “My suite-mates and roommates are all my really good friends. It’s easier to see my on-campus friends more often than the ones that live off campus. I hardly see them anymore.”
Living on campus pushed Gregg to do better in her studies as well.
“It gives me more time to study,” Gregg said. “I can walk to the library or the Honors House and study. If I was at home I wouldn’t be able to study. I get more work done because it’s a school environment.”
Taylor is a junior recreational therapy major who lives in an apartment off campus. She lived in residence halls her freshman and sophomore years, and said she sees both the pros and cons of living off campus.
“It’s cheaper [to live in an apartment] and you have more freedom,” Taylor said. “You don’t have a curfew, and you aren’t limited to how many visitors you can have at one time or how long they can stay.”
However, Taylor said she misses some aspects of living in a residence hall, especially the convenience and social life.
“It was easier to socialize when I lived on campus,” Taylor said. “Now I just go home in the evenings. You can socialize with people, meet a new roommate, go to social activities and mingle with other people. Getting to class was quicker, too. I also miss not having to prepare my own food.”
Though Taylor said living off campus can be inconvenient, she feels it is worth it for academic and personal reasons.
“The inconvenience is worth having your freedom,” Taylor said. “I am able to focus more and my grades are a whole lot better. I can go into my room by myself, then take a break and go to the living room to watch TV. I am happier now that I have a private place that I don’t have to share. It’s more peaceful.”
It seems the choice to live on campus or off campus is a personal choice, according Gregg and Taylor. Offering more living options on campus may help bridge the gap.
Catherine Lamb, a senior psychology major, used Jackson State University’s on-campus housing as an example of a better option for students.
“I feel that apartment style halls would be an improvement to residence life options,” Lamb said. “Jackson State University’s Campbell Suites have separate bedrooms for each student with a shared kitchen and living area.”
Southern Miss offers fewer on-campus living options than both Mississippi State University and University of Mississippi. Ole Miss offers Northgate Apartments on campus for undergraduates, while many halls at Mississippi State have community kitchens on each floor, according to their residence life websites.
Until USM offers more variety in on-campus living, students must make compromises among convenience, freedom, social life and privacy.